God Given Family

This Christmas has been challenging for me in many respects, but one thing that really struck my heart was the loneliness of the holidays. Although surrounded by people that I know care deeply for me, I could only see what I lacked. I could only see the fact that although God had given me a family in Him, my own family is far from the family that I would have picked for myself. We are separated by states and experiences and were never given the chance to actually be a family. As I looked at the families of the people that I know and love, all I could see was they have what I don't: a family that knows them, the ugly and the beautiful, their likes and dislikes, they have people who know them intimately who will stick it out with them through thick and thin. I found myself growing angry -- why did all these people have what I don't? Why did God see fit to give them what I wanted and some of them don't even realize it and take advantage of that? I didn't know this wa

5 Years of Dying

"Behold, the former things have come to pass,  and new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them."  - Isaiah 42:9-  Five years ago, I began a journey. I remember very clearly where I was when the Lord gave me the verse above and the excitement it yielded in me. Something new? I was ready for something new. Or so I thought. I was ready for the new that I wanted. The new that I had planned wasn't exactly the new the Lord had planned for me. As I look at who I was then, at that moment, excitedly asking the Lord what the new thing He was going to do was, and I look at who I am now, I am a completely different person. Walking through the months of 2013 as I prayed about what the new was and as the Lord gradually revealed that the new meant a packing up of my life and a move across the country, I still had a plan for what the new meant. I had a plan for what the steps that I would be taking, and what my life would look like. I built up this life in

A Song of Freedom

I've spent most of my life living in fear. Fear had gripped me so tightly that I didn't even recognize it as fear but as a faithful friend. It wasn't the fear that you think of when you think of a bump in the dark when no one else is home or the heart-stopping fear that envelopes you when you slide on ice and don't know if you can gain control of your car before you slam into the wall in front of you. It is a constant fear, a subtle one, that whispers in your ear all day long. It's like when you have music playing in the background while you are working, you aren't actively listening, but its actively playing. And later in the day, when that song is stuck in your head, you start singing it, not knowing where it came from. For me, the song on repeat was telling me that everyone and everything was dangerous. Showing people who you really are, how you really feel, will only make them not want to know you. You aren't worth people getting to know. You

Walls of Jericho

The idea of using walls as a protection isn't a new idea -- if you look back through the years, many of the ancient civilizations we study in school built walls. Ancient cities used to build defensive walls around their cities as a way to fortify and protect their homes from potential threats. Walls are great at protecting what is inside the walls and keeping out what is not meant to be inside. What happens when walls are a hindrance? When they keep out what is meant to be inside the walls? There is a song Mansion by the rapper NF that God has used repetitively in my life. There is a part that says: So this part of my house, no one's been in it for years   I built the safe room and I don't let no one in there....   But I didn't build this house because I thought it would solve ´em [problems]   I built it because I thought that it was safer in there Throughout my life, I've experienced abuse, abandonment, pain and more and, as this song says, I built m

Lessons from Heartbreak

I remember the first time I saw him, in class in 10th grade. I sat behind him because we had to sit alphabetically. He was a popular kid, and I wasn't. He ended up leaving our high school and I didn't see him again, until the summer after our senior year. We reconnected because of MySpace. The first night we became "friends", we were up all night talking. I saw him for the first time in years the following night. We went to look at Christmas lights.  We drove around, listened to music and talked until late that night. It was magical. I remember the first time we held hands, the first time we kissed. It, he, is engrained in my memory, along with how he broke my heart. It's been at least ten years since I've seen or spoken to him, but today the pain hit fresh again. My first love and my first heartbreak. If I'm honest, this trip down memory lane isn't necessarily about him, but about fear. I look at him as a visual reminder of the pain of heartbr


There is a Jewish Shabat tradition called Kiddush which I learned a little bit about on my recent trip to Israel.  If you ask anyone on the trip about this word, they would laugh, and remember Pastor Bobby asking to be "kiddush-ed". It's a moment that will be hard to forget. But more than that, it is a perfect description for me of the work that the Lord has been doing in my life recently.  The word, kiddush, literally means holiness. At the Shabat dinner on Friday night, the man of the house sets the kiddush cup on a plate and fills it with wine. But he doesn't just fill it, he fills it to overflowing. This symbolizes being full to overflowing with God, overflowing with blessing, and sanctifies the family and the time for Shabat. Although I am no expert on Jewish traditions, it's hard to miss the beauty of this picture. Hearing Pastor Bobby say, "Kiddush me", now has a fuller picture. He wanted to be full to overflowing with God, holy and set apart f

Thankful for the Thorns

"Therefore, behold,  I will hedge up your way with thorns,  and wall her in,  so that she cannot find her oaths. She will chase her lovers, but not overtake them; Yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go and return to my first husband,  For then it was better for me than now.' For she did not know  that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil,  and multiplied her silver and gold --  which they prepared for Baal."  - Hosea 2:6-8 -  Have you ever been at a park on a walk and find a trail that looks untravelled? The branches of the trees are unkept and hanging over the path making it difficult to walk it. If you're anything like me, the prospect of walking that path is both scary and exciting. You don't know what you will find or if it even leads anywhere, but you take that step. The farther you get down the path, the narrower it gets. Branches swat at you, scratching you, making you question if you made the right de